N.M. governor ends PARCC testing

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 1/3/19

With only three days in office, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Thursday (January 3) effectively leading New Mexico away from the  Partnership for Assessment of …

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N.M. governor ends PARCC testing

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With only three days in office, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Thursday (Jan. 3) effectively leading New Mexico away from the  Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test.

Lujan Grisham, keeping to a long-standing campaign promise, signed the order which instructs the Public Education Department to begin seeking new assessments and ways of evaluating students. The order also says that teachers, parents, students and administrators should work together on finding a new solution for New Mexico schools.

“This is the first of many steps we will take to transform education in this state,” Lujan Grisham said in a release. “High-stakes tests like PARCC do our schools a disservice, and we are about empowering our school system. Including those who will be most empowered by a better assessment in the process will help us build something better from the ground up, as opposed to a test mandated from on high.”

The PARCC tests students from grades 3-11 and is also used as a factor in determining the grade a school receives from the state. The PARCC has been a subject of controversy since it was implemented by former Governor Susana Martinez and former Education Secretary Hannah Skandera in 2015. The PARCC test replaced the New Mexico Standard Based Assessment tests for the 2015 school year and immediately was met with public criticism, prompting student protests and opt-outs of the test.

New Jersey and the District of Columbia are the only states left using the PARCC test, as Maryland school officials planned to drop the test for the 2018-19 school year.

In addition to her PARCC order, Lujan Grisham also signed an executive order directing the PED to transition away from using the test scores for teacher evaluations.

"This is a new day in New Mexico,” Lt. Governor Howie Morales said in a statement. “We are going to change the culture at the Public Education Department, so New Mexicans know the state is there in support of our educators and students, not as a police department.”

Lujan Grisham also announced that Morales would be filling the position of Cabinet secretary at the Public Education Department for the time being.  He is temporarily replacing outgoing secretary Christopher N. Ruszkowski. 

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